Train info, in case that is all you are interested in:
- The train ride is a full day. You have to show up at 7:30 AM for an 8 AM departure, and it doesn't get back until 6 PM. Ticket pickup is simple, but the ticket office can be as much as 1 km from the car you're on.
- The train is an "out and back" -- northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon, on the same track
- Cars are added or removed from the train depending on demand; we had 16 passenger cars, 2 dining cars, one snack car, and 3 engines, which is about as big as it ever gets.
- The cars are of varying vintages, but mostly early 1960's rolling stock. The toilets are "spartan" but functional
- To manage the crowds, they call car numbers in order for breakfast service. We didn't partake of the food for sale on the train nor check out the dining cars, so can't comment on them. Lunch service is also available, but it is first come, first served. You're not supposed to bring your own liquor onto the train; they sell it starting at 10 AM
- You are assigned to a car on the train, but not a seat; seats are first come, first serve, and you stay in those seats up and back (meaning you stay on the same side of the train all day).
- Seats on the train rotate 180° so you always face forward -- except emergency exit seats, which do not rotate. The rotation of the seats means that a seat centred on a window in one direction will be centred on a post the opposite direction.
- Everyone is eager to see the scenery on the ride up; they are far more tired on the way back and tend to just sit still; many nap.
- The train stops for 90 minutes at mid day, which I will describe later.
- get a good window seat on the trip up;
- sit on the right hand side of the train for better views; sit on the left for better photography;
- make friends with the people who sit across from you to swap seats on the way back, giving you a different view northbound and southbound;
- Pack a lunch and breakfast snacks to maximize your "looking out the window and exploring" time.
The train platform spans a road in downtown Soo, and many, many bus tours were on our train.
|A long train|
|Colourful trees in fog|
|Fog in the low lying areas|
|Fog in the evergreens|
|A lake in the mist|
|The fog breaks to reveal some colour|
|More rising fog|
|Just passing by|
|The aspen parkland|
|Back into colour|
|Colour speeds by|
|The crossing of the Montreal starts|
|Accros the reservoir|
|Downstream from the dam|
|Megacolour on the hills|
|Looking back -- the train is long|
|Down into the valley|
|Across the valley|
|The Agawa Canyon Park|
|A quiet platform|
|The beautiful river valley|
|Colour on colour|
|Orange hills & red trees|
|Engines swapping ends|
|Karen, alone on the viewing platform|
- Stay near the train, enjoy the grass nar the river, and have a picnic;
- Visit the twin Black Beaver Falls. They say allow 30 min to get there and back
- Visit Bridal Veil Falls. They say allow 45 min to get there and back
- Climb the 325 stairs to the canyon overlook where the above photos were taken. They say allow 30 minutes for the climb, and warn you repeatedly it is strenuous.
|North Black Beaver Falls|
|South Black Beaver Falls|
|Folks just hanging|
|The river view|
|The falls come into view|
|The falls in context|
|Did I mention the place was beautiful?|
|Folks enjoying the pretty picnic grounds|
|Glorious hill colour|
|Lake Superior on the upper left, Hwy 17 in the upper left centre|
|Over a small stream|
|The Montreal River power station and valley|
|More of the beautiful Montreal River valley|
|Afternoon on lakes|
|More lake afternoons|
|The colours rush by|
The train goes out of cell coverage 30 minutes after leaving the Soo, and returns to coverage about 30 min before arrival. At 5:15, just as cell service returned, I called Chris to inquire about my tires. They were "on the road" and scheduled to arrive tomorrow sometime. There was hope we could make Bancroft on Friday.